‘Never mind world politics,’ Camp said to me, holding up a hand to stop me from even thinking about anything outside of our small peninsula community. ‘I don’t want to hear about the Brexit fiasco or Trump closing the Mexican border after he cut foreign aid to Central America and we can’t do anything about the whole of China acting like one big company or the rise of fascism throughout the world. But we have plenty of local issues which divide and engage people, we have our own politicians whose motives and allegiances are questionable and once in power toss former convictions out the window and we also have misinformation and differing opinions on every conceivable subject, public and personal, right here at home.’
‘Whoa Camp! What’s got you all riled up? Is it the upcoming wedding or the store? You’re spouting is a tad bit generalized Camp. I need some specifics here, some examples. I know you have strong opinions but do they represent the majority or just a small group of radicals.’
‘You’re calling me a radical?’ Camp bristled, ‘Just because I have definite and strong opinions. I’ll give you some current issues that have people talking. Take the NDP’s complete reversal on the LNG file or how about the SC101 Highway Society, which collected 6400 signatures. They want the 30km section of Highway built, from Langdale to Sechelt. Long overdue I say, ever since TNL (They Never Leave) built the one kilometer superhighway to nowhere when coming off the ferry. Or what about the ongoing ferry debacle.’
‘Yes, and you forgot the ‘Fixed Link’ group, advocating for a bridge to the mainland, a project that, in my humble opinion, will never happen,’ I added.
‘We need newer and more modern ships to replace the old buckets like the Queen of Coquitlam,’ Camp lamented.
‘You should see the ferries they have in Estonia and Finland. They have multiple bars and restaurants, a whole deck just for shopping, big screen TV’s and they are faster and more fuel efficient,’ I said.
‘Do I detect ferry envy?’ Camp said. ‘We probably are one of the biggest Ferry corporations world wide, but rather backwards in terms of ships. Apparently we will not have new boats until 2030 and they will not be built here.’
‘Which is a shame because we used to have a vibrant ship building industry,’ I said. ‘Remember when Glen Clark’s NDP government built the calamitous aluminum fast ferries for a cool 450 million in the late 90ies?’
‘Yes and then they sold them as scrap back to the builder, Mr. Washington, who then sold them to Abu Dhabi Mar, a yacht builder in the United Arab Emirates.’
‘Yes, that was then. Here at home we have the ongoing water supply issues. You wouldn’t know looking out at the rain but despite living in the rain forest we have yearly water restrictions. Imagine that. And yet, nothing seems to get done besides a lot of talk and innuendo. I read about making the Clowhom Lake our primary water source. It’s 42 times larger then the present Chapman reservoir. What’s the problem with that?’ I said.
‘Money I suppose, and commitment. There will be years of study and debates, followed by court challenges by community and preservation groups with the result of more water restrictions coming your way,” Camp said.
‘You’re in a rather gloomy mood today. Maybe another pint will cheer you up,’ I suggested and just like magic Vicky appeared with two fresh ones.
‘We installed two 500 liter water tanks which work as cisterns,’ I said, taking a sip from the fresh frosty pint. ‘They filled up in just one day this week. My neighbour calculated that his roof sheds 80’000 gallons of water yearly. Mind you it’s a big roof but think about it. Water shortage? In the rainforest?’
We both looked out towards the grey clouds draping over the coastal waters. There is more rain in the forecast but summer is on the way. Some people are already walking around in T-shirts and shorts while others are still dressed in down jackets, scarves and hats. Vicky wears jeans and a black T-shirt that says: Don’t worry, stay calm.
‘Aren’t you cold,’ Camp asked her.
‘Not really,’ Vicky said, ‘I’m not sitting down drinking cold beers.’
‘She’s got a point there Camp,’ I said laughing.